Water (Canada/2005)

This is the place to talk about films from around the world.

Water (Canada/2005)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:56 am

Water (2005)

Directed by Deepa Mehta

Starring Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas, Sarala

A widow should be long suffering until death, self-restrained and chaste.
A virtuous wife who remains chaste when her husband has died goes to heaven.
A woman who is unfaithful to her husband is reborn in the womb of a Jackal.

The Laws of Manu
Chapter 5 verse 156-161

Copied from www.waterthefilm.co.uk

First things first, Water is an astonishingly beautiful film, the setting of 1930s India allows for the inclusion of political and social upheaval with Ghandi becoming a rising force against British occupation, the setting also allows for a more romanticised, mysterious, exotic India, more appealing to the eye and certainly more acceptable to a mainstream audience, particularly in mother India itself.

Several years in the making due to violent protests and death threats during the initial filming, Water, the third and final instalment in Deepa Mehtas elemental trilogy (following Fire (1996) and Earth (1998)) deals with an aspect of Indian society that even in these times, is an open wound.

The story follows Chuyia, an eight year old bride who soon becomes an eight year old widow, from long hair and beautiful clothes to shaved head and plain robes within an instant. Relieved of any normality in her life and finding herself abandoned in an ashram, a residence for widows where they are pretty much cut off from the rest of the world.

In this tiny world, Chuyia manages to upset a few of the older widows but forms a deep bond with a couple as well, she desperately longs to return to the bosom of her family but as time passes, she comes to realise that her old life is no more.

One of the women she becomes attached to is the beautiful Kalyani (Lisa Ray) who lives an almost separate life from the others. Out of all the widows, she is the only one whose hair isnt shaved, arriving at the ashram at the tender age of nine, Kalyani has been forced into becoming the breadwinner, being prostituted out to provide money to feed the others. In a world of contradictions, the widows rely on her for their very survival yet do not allow her to partake within their society because of what she has been forced into, double standards which reflect the caste system of the outside world.

The mid section of the film concentrates more on Kalyani as she becomes the tragic figure in an almost Bollywood style tale of love. Her lover carries the values of Ghandis teachings but not even his modern thinking can prevent the tragedy to come. The sacred water of the river Ganges come into play many times during the film but never with more poignancy than during this episode.

The arc of the story then swings back to Chuyia and her redemption from a life as tragic as Kalyanis, its quite evident that the widow who has set herself as top dog in the ashram intends to procure clients for Chuyia and live off her immoral earnings. Luckily for her, Chuyia does have a protector with a conscience.

Deepa Mehta was appalled when she discovered that these ashrams still existed, and that even here, the hypocrisy of the caste system was very much alive. Its a shame that to ensure Water would be well received, she has had to resort to making a film that will entertain the masses and may affect them rather than the reverse.

Exquisite, entertaining but not as damning of its subject matter as I would have wished, well worth seeing though.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 12a

No news of a UK dvd release yet.

Re: Water (Canada/2005)

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Jul 28, 2007 6:29 am

[Moved from the LAST FILM SEEN thread / OP 06/06/2006]

WATER (Canada / 2005)

*A 2006 U.S. Release*

The original production of Deepa Mehta's poignant yet simplistic new film Water, the third installment of her elemental trilogy following Fire (1996) and Earth (1998), had to be shut down in India back in 2000 due to the violent protests of Hindu fundamentalist groups. Fearing further actions, Mehta went to neighboring Srilanka with the film which focuses on the harsh treatment of widows because of ancient religious customs. Set in 1930s colonial India during Gandhis rise to power, Water mostly takes inside an ashram, a place of confinement for Hindu widows who have to spend the rest of their lives in exile. Chuyia (Sarala), a precocious eight-year-old child widow, ends up in Varanasis ashram situated alongside the Ganges. While she isnt welcomed by most, she becomes close to a couple of the inmates: Shakuntala (Seema Biswas), a stoic, well-respected resident, and Kalyani (Lisa Ray), a young and beautiful one who's been forced into prostitution in order to keep the institution running. To Mehtas credit, she has approached the films inherently grim subject matter in a relaxed and, at times, blitheful manner, which wasnt always the case in her previous elemental efforts. But for a stretch, the film unfortunately deviates into a Bollywood-esque romance which develops between Kalyani and an upper-class attorney who happens to be a Gandhian. That said, there isn't any doubt regarding Mehtas concern for the plight of her characters and the issues that surround them, whom she touches upon in various minor yet affecting sequences. Ultimately, however, the strong work of its cast along with the highly evocative cinematography of Giles Nuttgens enables Water to overcome the late dramatics to leave a rich and strong impression.

Grade: B-

*Available on U.S. DVD (Fox). Canada (Mongrel Media).

Re: Water (Canada/2005)

Postby JPaulie » Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:44 am

I thought John Abraham would stand out with this role but unfortunately he showed that he is not much of an actor as suspected!

Overall Water was something I would watch once, Lisa Raye is beautiful, and I really enjoyed Earth WAYYY more than this!

Re: Water (Canada/2005)

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Jul 29, 2007 2:45 am

I think Mehta and the writers deserve most of the blame. It's not a particularly very well written part; the character is especially short-shifted after the tragedy. Haven't seen enough John Abraham movies but didn't think that him or any of the other cast members were a problem. Having said that, as I brought it up before elsewhere, it would've been interesting if Mehta had found a way to stick with the original script (it's not primarily her fault that she didn't), which I believe once had the great Shabana Azmi playing one of the women.

Re: Water (Canada/2005)

Postby JPaulie » Sun Jul 29, 2007 7:59 am

Yeah the script didnt give his character much depth at all, and I dont know Ive tried liking Johns acting I gave it a shot in Kabul Express but he still didnt put enough into the role just like the previous film of his Baabul maybe he needs more time to grow! And what was the original script??? And why didnt Mehta stick with it??? If she wrote a script as good as Earth or close to I would have loved this film, althought I did love the cinematography! Nicely done!

Re: Water (Canada/2005)

Postby arsaib4 » Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:36 am

I believe initially the film was meant to recount the lives of priests' wives who prostituted themselves to fulfull their needs. I'm not sure whether Mehta had already made the necessary changes in order to shoot in India or not, but in any case the sets were burned and thrown into the river. On top of that, the lives of those involved were threatened. From what I read, Mehta wasn't very forthcoming with the details at the premiere in Toronto, perhaps understandably so. It's funny that you mentioned Kabul Express because it was one of the Indian films that played at TIFF last year and didn't go over very well with the public and the critics alike. The latest from Santosh Sivan (The Terrorist) called Before the Rains is scheduled to play next month at the fest; I might check it out. Have you seen any worthy Indian films lately?

Re: Water (Canada/2005)

Postby hengcs » Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:56 am

I was surprised I did not post on this.
The film was rather depressing ...

Return to Film Talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests